Congress Approves Bill Curbing Internet Tobacco Sales in Victory for Kids and Taxpayers

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Mar. 17 2010

Washington, D.C. — Voting 387 to 25, the U.S. House of Representatives today gave final congressional approval to the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, legislation to curtail the growing sales of tax-evading, low-cost cigarettes and other tobacco products over the Internet and through the mail. Passage of this legislation is a milestone in the fight to keep kids from smoking and prevent tax evasion that costs state and federal taxpayers billions each year.

We applaud Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), the chief House sponsor, and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), the Senate sponsor, for their leadership and persistence in pursuing this legislation and winning its approval. The Senate unanimously approved the bill on March 11. We look forward to President Obama continuing his strong leadership on tobacco control by signing the PACT Act into law.

Internet sales of tobacco products are a serious and growing problem that keeps prices down and smoking levels up. Such sales make it easier and cheaper for kids to buy cigarettes, facilitate tax evasion and cost federal and state governments billions in revenue. Many vendors that sell cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products over the Internet or through other mail-order sales do not pay applicable tobacco taxes and do not have sufficient safeguards to prevent sales to children, such as effective policies to verify a purchaser’s age.

The PACT Act will:

  • Require Internet sellers to pay all federal, state, local or Tribal tobacco taxes and affix tax stamps before delivery to any customer;
  • Mandate that the age and identification of purchasers be checked at purchase and at delivery;
  • Require Internet vendors to comply with state and local laws as if they were located in the same state as their customers;
  • Provide federal and state enforcement officials with new tools to block delivery of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products that evade federal or state laws; and
  • Ban the delivery of tobacco products through the U.S. mail.

 

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